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Elena Slough, 114; Oldest American

October 06, 2003|From Associated Press

Elena Slough, considered to be the nation's oldest person and the third-oldest person in the world, died early Sunday morning. She was 114 or 115, according to different sources.

Slough died in her sleep at the Victoria Manor Nursing Home in Trenton, N.J., three days after her 90-year-old daughter, Wanda Allen, died at the same facility, said Judy Moudy, a supervisor at the home.

Slough's exact age is in question. The Gerontology Research Group, a panel of university researchers, said Slough was born on July 8, 1889, making her 114 years old at the time of her death.

Staffers at Victoria Manor said earlier this year that documents the Slough family had accumulated over the years said she was born on July 4, 1888, making her 115.

What is not in dispute is that Slough was the oldest person in the U.S.

Slough was "the oldest living American as of the time she died," Dr. L. Stephen Coles, executive director of the Gerontology Research Group, said Sunday.

Slough inherited that title in April when 113-year-old Mary Dorothy Christian died in San Pablo, Calif. The death of Slough makes Charlotte Benkner, 113, a resident of Ohio, the oldest living American. She was born on Nov. 16, 1889.

The Gerontology Research Group, which is affiliated with the UCLA School of Medicine, maintains a Web site of oldest living people. Three different types of documentation are used to verify ages.

According to the organization's Web site, Slough was the third-oldest living person. Kamato Hongo turned 116 last month, and Mitoyo Kawate turned 114 in May. Both are Japanese.

Slough was born Elena Rodenbaugh in a log cabin in Horsham, Pa. During her lifetime, she lived through seven U.S. wars, 21 presidents and 12 U.S. territories gaining statehood.

Slough is believed to be survived by a son, who resides in Oklahoma, Moudy said.

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